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Sonoma County Family Law Blog

Partnering with your ex during the school year

The start of a new school year means a blank slate for you and your child. You may look at September as a time to make new resolutions that are even more meaningful than those made in January, especially if past years have presented stumbling blocks. If many of these struggles occurred because of miscommunication or resentment between you and your spouse, you may wish to amend that for the sake of your child.

Working with a co-parent after a divorce or breakup is a challenge, to be certain. There may be times when you want to get even or act out on your feelings of resentment. Perhaps in the past, you did just this. However, this year can be different, and family counselors offer some tips for making it a success.

Are you worried about negative reactions to your divorce?

After making the decision to end your marriage, you may feel as if you need to keep the news to yourself. This type of situation tends to gain negative attention, and you may fear that family members, friends or other parties will potentially make you feel bad about your choice. However, divorce does not have to live up to the negative stigma that society often places on it.

The manner in which you view your situation can have a considerable impact on yourself and your proceedings. Therefore, you may wish to try to focus on positive aspects of the life change and find support from trusted individuals.

Reach a divorce settlement through mediation, no judge needed

The thought of going through the divorce process can understandably be emotionally overwhelming and exhausting. After all, divorce is often portrayed in the media as a long and contentious battle that never seems to end.

In reality, dissolving a marriage in California does not have to be an acrimonious process. With mediation, divorcing couples can work to resolve their issues and reach a settlement outside of the courtroom.

Is an uncontested divorce the right choice for you?

For some couples facing the end of a marriage, a contested, contentious divorce is not the only option. An uncontested divorce is a valid choice for many California couples, allowing parties to avoid a lengthy litigation process and court battle over various types of divorce issues.

A divorce can be uncontested when both parties agree on issues involving custody, visitation, property division, support and more. With an uncontested case, a spouse would not file any documents that differ from the requests outlined in the submitted divorce petition. While it is not an optimal choice in every situation, it could be a positive choice for you, your soon-to-be ex-spouse and any minor children.

In debt do you part: What happens to debts in a divorce?

If you forgot that you and your soon-to-be former spouse would need to divide your debts right along with your property, you aren't alone. Most California couples involved in a divorce tend to focus on splitting up their assets. While that is a necessary part of the process, your debts require attention and division as well.

Dividing debts in a divorce comes with its own set of challenges. Just as you would need to take every aspect of an asset into consideration before deciding to fight for it, you need to do the same with your marital debts.

How should you tell your kids about the divorce?

As a parent, you take on the responsibility and the challenge of finding the best way to guide your children through difficult situations. Even though you may have the ability to help your kids through predicaments that seem huge to them but minor to you, some issues can have significant burdens on everyone involved. One of those major issues relates to telling your children that their parents have chosen to end their marriage.

Because divorce can take a considerable emotional toll on you, you likely also worry about the effects the news will have on your children. Though a common concern, each set of parents may have a different way of addressing the situation that works best for their family. If you do not know where to start, you may wish to take certain aspects into consideration.

Grandparenting when your child suffers with addiction

One of the most heartbreaking things you may have had to deal with in your life is seeing your child struggle with addiction. Whether it is alcohol or drugs, chemical dependency can change a person, and that is a difficult thing for a parent to watch.

While you may be able to console yourself with the knowledge that your child might not overcome their addiction or has made the choice to refuse help, you cannot find that same consolation for your grandchildren.

Collaborative divorce: keeping it out of the courtroom

A lot of divorces involve lengthy court battles and adversarial attitudes. Couples may not realize that they have the option of avoiding court altogether. A method called collaborative divorce allows the divorcing spouses, with the help of a small team of third-party members, to discuss and reach agreements about matters like property division and child custody.

Some of the benefits of this method include:

Preparing for divorce: Get to know your finances in 7 steps

Once you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the best option you will likely want to get things moving quickly. Even if you want to proceed as soon as possible it is important to first take a few hours to fully understand your finances. If you are not financially prepared you could get surprised with unsettled debts, lost documents, and unknown future expenses. Follow these seven steps to get a better understanding of your financial situation.

1. Know your credit score

One of the easiest ways to get a handle on your finances will be to check your credit score. It can indicate that you might be in good standing for getting a rental or if you have any unnoticed outstanding debts. If you have a good score then you will want to protect it throughout your divorce. You can establish separate spending accounts with your spouse which will help protect your credit.

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